Today, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) notified public housing agencies in 23 metropolitan areas that it is suspending its Small Area Fair Market Rent Rule (FMR), which went into effect on January 17, 2017. The rule brought about a much-needed change to HUD’s housing choice voucher program by getting rid of the single subsidy standard for entire regions. Instead, the FMR bases subsidies on the cost of rent in zip codes with the highest concentration of families using vouchers. The purpose of the rule was to ensure voucher payment standards better correspond with market value. This affords more flexibility to families as they choose where to live and decreases the segregation of low-income families in high-poverty areas. Coty Montag, Deputy Director of Litigation at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), issued the following statement:
“Housing segregation remains entrenched in scores of communities across the country. In areas both large and small, and urban and rural, long-term residential segregation has had grave consequences for the lives and livelihoods of millions of African Americans. The Small Area Fair Market Rent Rule was intended to give voucher recipients a true choice in where they live, which affects educational opportunity, employment prospects, transportation options, health outcomes, and general well-being. The suspension of this rule, which comes on the same day the President purportedly denounced the forces that mean harm to Americans of color, is unfortunately just the latest attempt by this Administration to roll back critical civil rights advancements. LDF will be conducting a full review to determine if HUD complied with its administrative requirements before suspending this rule.”
Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization and has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF.